This is when Cactus Jack switches gears, showing what happens when a lit fuse reaches the dynamite. Ronald becomes the host of his own viral Cactus Jack show. I don’t want to spoil the twists, which are beyond the point anyway. I will say that the action switches from black-and-white to grainy color, a grisly off-screen murder occurs, a swastika is tattooed into a forehead, urine is consumed in abundance, and an organization of people donning Guy Fawkes masks pledges to capture Cactus Jack.
To reiterate: the Thornton brothers’ aim was most certainly not to make a pleasant viewing experience. They are not subtle. There’s no sugarcoating here. Cactus Jack bludgeons you with a hammer. The directors, who also wrote the film, were highly aware of their budgetary limitations, and the result is a purposefully dank examination of very real contemporary evil. They are helped immensely by R. Michael Gull’s jaw-dropping commitment to the role. Bald, beady-eyed, he stares directly into the camera, pontificating so vehemently that he transcends acting and steps into the realm of something more visceral and uncanny. Just watch him gleam while tracing his mother’s footsteps upstairs with a laser-point gun. It’s a brave performance, to say the least.
“…the fact that it’s extraordinarily unsettling cannot be denied.”
The filmmakers clearly knew that what they were making was controversial. Fearing that idiots may misinterpret this film as a call to arms, they put a disclaimer at the beginning that they do not share the viewpoints expressed so radically within their creation. Is the insane number of racial slurs justified? Is the deliberately threadbare plot – this entire movie, come to think of it – just a platform for prolonged rhetoric?
Put it this way: folks like Cactus Jack exist. They stormed the Capitol just a few weeks ago. They very well may be your neighbor, enjoying their quarantine. They have followers on social media. Say what you will about Cactus Jack, but the fact that it’s extraordinarily unsettling cannot be denied. If you find yourself relating to any second of its purposefully hateful narrative, you may want to call your local psychiatrist immediately.
"…sadly more relevant than ever."